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Why People Meditate

The Studies Are In: 4 Reasons to Try Meditation

Meditation may sound like a far-out concept for a woman who considers herself straightlaced, but there's nothing strange about relieving daily pressures and moving forward with a healthier outlook. If you're a little skeptical of sitting down to meditate, know that it doesn't have to be all about aligning your chakras and chanting a mantra! A few minutes of deep contemplation and breathing in your own style can shift your relationship with the day and keep you in better shape.

It lowers stress levels: You may think that meditation isn't real science, but studies have shown a correlation between meditation and reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. It's common to feel a little anxious the first few times you meditate, but as you ease into the practice, you'll feel the weight of worry lift off your shoulders.

It helps keep your heart healthy: Individuals who are worried about cardiovascular health should start a solid meditation practice. In a number of studies, high-risk patients who meditated cut their risk of heart attacks. The connection? High blood pressure can wreak havoc on your heart's health, and meditation has been proven to significantly lower blood pressure.

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It improves your attention span: You may think that the time you're meditating could be put to better use, but meditation can help lengthen your attention span. Taking a little time to be kind to yourself will leave you feeling lighter, and it can improve your productivity!

It sets a positive tone for your day: Waking up an extra 15 or 20 minutes early for a morning meditation can change your outlook for the whole day. Instead of being harried and focusing on your lists, placing intention on peace will keep you feeling positive and connected throughout your day-to-day grind.

Not sure how to start a daily meditation practice? Here are five styles of meditation for beginners.

Source: Flickr User andreasivarsson

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